Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel recently left the door open a crack for a potential return to the Aggies in 2014. During a radio interview on The Dan Patrick Show leading up to last week’s Heisman Trophy ceremony, Manziel said his decision on whether to leave a year early for the NFL Draft may be weighted on the feedback received from an NFL Draft evaluation. The suggestion being if Manziel was rated a first-round draft pick, he would leave for the pros. If not, he would consider returning for one more year of college football.
“I don’t know what I would do,” Manziel said when asked what he would do if he was not going to be a first round draft pick. “It would be a decision I would have to make with my family and see what was best for me. It would probably mean returning to A&M another year but I would just see what’s in that position.”
But what if he never received an evaluation?
That could be the case. Albert Breer of NFL.com noted Manziel’s name was missing from the list of 156 players who submitted requests for an evaluation. Neither did South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Of course, keep in mind that an evaluation is not required for any underclassmen thinking about making a leap to the NFL. The fact Manziel and Clowney each passed on an evaluation may not mean much of anything, but it is rather interesting considering the years each had.
By all accounts Manziel had a fantastic year this season, improving on his passing numbers and production from his 2012 Heisman Trophy season despite having a few more rough moments along the way. Clowney’s season was tarnished by nagging injuries and rumors about taking it easy knowing the NFL was waiting. His production took a hit but when he was at his best he was still difficult to slow down. For a long time both were seemingly bound for the NFL as soon as possible.
As Breer suggests, it is possible Manziel and Clowney have already made up their minds on their playing future. If they return to play next season in the SEC, it would be a surprise.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2014 NFL Draft is January 15.
UPDATE (8:57 pm ET): It seems there are some conflicting reports on the total number of evaluation requests. Bob McGinn of Journal Sentinel in Wisconsin notes there were 201 requests. If that is the actual number, or closer to it, perhaps Manziel and/or Clowney’s names could be included after all.
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